Not All Transfats Equally Bad Interview with:
Dr Marcus Kleber PhD
Post-doctoral researcher at the Vth Department of Medicine of the Medical Faculty Mannheim Heidelberg University

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Kleber: Most trans fatty acids in our diet are industrially produced.  High concentrations of trans fatty acids are hazardous to human health but whether low concentrations are also harmful has not been studied in detail. We measured trans fatty acids in the erythrocyte membranes of our study participants  and found relatively low levels that were not associated with increased mortality. To the contrary, we found an association with a reduced risk for sudden cardiac death for higher concentrations of the naturally occurring trans fatty acid trans-palmitoleic acid that is ingested with milk and milk products.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Kleber: Like a lot of other things trans fatty acids are toxic at high levels, but we can live with them at low levels. Further we show that it is important to distinguish between industrially produced and naturally produced trans fatty acids with the latter showing an association with improved survival.         

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Kleber: Our results should of course be confirmed in other studies. Future research should investigate how trans palmitoleic acid reduces the risk of diabetes and mortality.


Marcus E. Kleber, Graciela E. Delgado, Stefan Lorkowski, Winfried März, Clemens von Schacky. Transfatty acids and mortality in patients referred for coronary angiography: the Ludwigshafen Risk and Cardiovascular Health Study. European Heart Journal, 2015; ehv446 DOI: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehv446

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Dr Marcus Kleber PhD (2015). Not All Transfats Equally Bad